A new study has shed light on the probability of patients using a more effective form of medical cannabis with higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as an alternative to increasing the overall dosage.
The study, published on March 25 in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, revealed that cancer patients prefer medical cannabis with elevated levels of THC to alleviate cancer symptoms as well as the side effects of cancer treatment.
Furthermore, the study finds that higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD), a substance that other researchers have found to significantly ease seizures and inflammation were favored by patients suffering from epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
The study also revealed that sublingual oil droplets containing medical cannabis were more popular among cancer patients than cannabis that is designed to be vaped. “Although there is growing patient interest in medical cannabis, there is a scarcity of solid evidence about the benefits, risks, and patterns of use of marijuana products in various disease settings,” Arum Kim told Science Daily. Kim led the study and is an assistant professor of medicine and rehabilitation medicine at NYU School of Medicine as well as the director of the supportive oncology program at its Perlmutter Cancer Center. “Such information is important for delivering the best care.”
Researchers of this study have evaluated data from 11,590 New Yorkers, men and women alike, out of whom 1,990 patients were suffering from cancer. All the patients had specifically acquired and consumed cannabis products from a licensed New York state dispensary called Columbia Care LLC., between January 2016 and December 2017. The study did not take into consideration the various kinds of cancers the patients were suffering from, the quantity of cannabis products actually used or the definitive reasons they were used for.
However, the study ascertained that cancer and non-cancer patients have very different requirements in regards to the results they want their medicinal cannabis to deliver and that their dosages, CBD and THC ratios vary significantly. But one thing that was definite is that that all patients in general increased their THC level by roughly 0.20 milligrams per week.
“Our study provides valuable new information about how cancer patients are using marijuana,” said Benjamin Han, one of the senior investigators of the study, “In the absence of strong clinical research data for medical marijuana, identifying patterns of use offers some sense of how to guide patients who come in with questions for using medical marijuana, and what may or may not help them.”